Dental fear has negative consequences for both patient and dentist. For many patients, the dental experience is emotionally unsettling and physically uncomfortable. Patients handle fear by making and frequently breaking appointments, by being late (hoping treatment can’t be done as a result), and by not making payments in a timely manner. They may become angry with the dentist, become distressed, and delay or not accept needed treatment. Preventive home care might be neglected, and routine office visits avoided. Dental emergencies, greater dental expense, unnecessary tooth loss, unattractive smiles, bad breath and more complicated dental treatments ordinarily result.
In some situations, as the dentist treats the mouth, patients frequently feel defenseless. These feelings of vulnerability cause significant dental fear. Considering the intrusive nature of many dental procedures, anxious feelings arise more easily. These feelings can negatively affect the connection that develops between that person and the dentist. We have heard so many people say, “no offense Doc, but I hate the dentist!”
Because of the physical closeness of the dental procedures some patients become claustrophobic. Difficult dental treatment experience and difficult relationships with previous dentists can cause a significant increase in a patient’s dental fear. We all have our own sense of personal space. And when hands and tools enter the mouth, as they must, the feeling can get claustrophobic.
The most significant factor in reducing dental fear is the ability of the dentist and staff to quickly develop a connection with each patient. With a connected relationship the patient feels understood, and as safe as he or she can. Knowing how to ask the patient what he or she is thinking, what they are feeling or want is crucial to developing a connection. By eliciting this information, the dentist can respond to each patient appropriately and meaningfully.
In addition, a connection with each patient is fostered when the dental office environment is relaxed, well organized, and the staff is friendly, warm and caring. Immediately responding to a patient’s disclosure that they are anxious with an explanation about how you can manage their fear, helps reduce fear. The following is basically what we tell an anxious patient.
There are a few things you should know that can help to eliminate your fear:
You can use simple exercises that will get rid of the physical discomfort that is caused by fear ~ The physical discomfort we mean is a tense area in your stomach or your chest or your neck. This uncomfortable feeling is screaming at you, not to do whatever is causing you to feel anxious. Ask our expert staff to assist you in learning these techniques.
If you need an injection it can be given with minimal discomfort using topical anesthetics and good technique.
If you have moderate to severe fear and cannot imagine yourself getting dental treatment without being tense and anxious then you may be a candidate for sedation.
We use Nitrous Oxide (sometimes called Laughing Gas) as our method of choice for sedation because it is one of the safest and most tested forms of dental sedation. The effects of this type of sedation are completely reversed at the end of the appointment allowing the patient to drive themselves home.
When you use Nitrous Oxide you are awake and you can converse with your dentist during your dental visit.
Nitrous Oxide is specially helpful for kids as it creates a sense of time passing quickly and allows work to get done without the child getting restless or nervous. It also relaxes children a great deal, so they are more cooperative for the completion of the dental treatment. Nitrous oxide is safe for both kids and adults.
Find out if Dr. Yedigarian is the right dentist for you, request a free consultation to get to know our staff and see our facility at no obligation. At that time if you feel we are a good fit you can book your first appointment. Give us a call at 703-832-0989.